It’s not the Corona-apocalypse

This morning Rafe linked to a piece by Jo Nova on the corona virus.

As a reader wrote to me yesterday: It’s not practical to close the borders. My reply: It’s not practical to kill 100,000 people either but one or the other may happen.  Do the maths, WHO estimates 1% CFR (Case Fatality Rate. Let’s be optimistic, call it 0.5%. Deaths in the next six months: Australia, 125,000; Canada, 175,000; New Zealand, 25,000, USA, 1.6m; UK, 300,000. Geddit?

It wasn’t me – but let me repeat: it is not practical to close the borders, and it is expensive to do so too.

So here is the story about expense from the Cato Institute looking at the US.

Travel‐​and‐​immigration‐​bans are expensive. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that tourism contributed about $1.595 trillion to U.S. GDP in 2018 and 18.8 percent, or about $299.86 billion, was from international travel. Also, blocking the roughly 500,000 immigrants who receive a green card abroad each year and those who enter on temporary work visas would also diminish their contributions to GDP. Looking at average salaries of immigrants as a decent proxy of their contribution to GDP, combined with the tourist spending, a travel‐​and‐​immigration‐​ban would impose a cost of $323 billion to the U.S. economy in the first year.

The statistical value of a life in the United States, which is the average dollar value that individuals place on their own lives based on the risk‐​money trade‐​offs that they make, is about $10 million. Dividing the $323 billion cost of a travel and immigration ban for the first year by the $10 million statistical value of life reveals how many lives would have to be saved in the first year of such a ban so that the purely economic costs equal the benefits. Thus, a moratorium on travel and immigration would have to prevent 32,302 deaths to breakeven. This doesn’t include the cost of people being sick, which is most of COVID-19 cases, and the cost imposed on people outside of the United States as well as the long‐​term costs to the U.S. economy such as lower growth and broken global supply chains.

So what is the problem?

Deaths and sickness aren’t the only costs imposed by COVID-19. Most of the negative impact would be due to people’s reactions and avoidance behaviors, according to a World Bank background paper on pandemics. As the author of that paper explained, “those costs created by behavioral changes to avoid infection would be aggravated by likely confusion triggered by incomplete or inaccurate information and other inadequacies in individual subjective risk assessments.” Healthy people changing their behavior to avoid becoming sick imposes another huge cost, similar to the cost that taxes impose by changing individual behavior. It’s important that healthy people adjust their behavior enough to reduce the cost of COVID-19, but not so much that the extra cost imposed by their changing behavior outweighs the potential damage done by the virus.

According to my Facebook feed people are stocking up on hand sanitiser, toilet paper, and bottled water.  People are also avoiding Chinatown in Melbourne.

Let’s not overreact. Statistics about the virus can be found here (HT: Mem).  This to my mind is the important table.

Then:

If you are elderly, and if you are immuno-compromised, there is need for (some) concern.

The fact that the Chinese authorities have responded poorly is a reflection of their authoritarian government.

The totalitarian government of China, where the coronavirus pandemic began, hid information and misled outside observers until it became impossible to. 

To maintain the illusion of state omniscience, many more people both inside and outside of China will have died than otherwise, and immeasurable global economic damage inflicted as well. And it should be lost upon no one that the highly probably source of the coronavirus – eating what might best and most politely be referred to as exotic animals outside of normal human consumption – occurred in China, where over 150 million people are malnourished. 

To paraphrase – be alert, don’t be alarmed. Well not unnecessarily alarmed.

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190 Responses to It’s not the Corona-apocalypse

  1. Perception is reality. But what about the alternative. If the borders were closed, then may it not increase people’s confidence to go out, visit Chinese restaurants etc and go about as if everything is more or less normal? With unfettered entry, everyone becomes suspicious, cautious, and starts doing, or not doing, things that materially affect the economy and more, and perhaps for longer.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    Those stats are stupid.

    Heart disease and cancer etc are not remotely comparable to Bat Botherer Virus. They are lifestyle diseases.

    As Nassim Taleb has shown, the only reason not to be panicking is a fundamental misunderstanding of stats and probability.

  3. JC

    Yes , but he’s making assumptions too, Artie. He’s assuming this thing is going to be with us forever so it will a rolling death toll each year. He makes those assumptions and then gets scared. He doesn’t know shit either. No one does until it plays out for a while.

  4. Archivist

    That’s all well and good, except that you are, indeed we all are, relying on official Chinese data. We don’t know yet how reliable it is.

    There are anecdotal reports that the situation is much worse in China than being officially reported; only time will tell if those reports were warning bells or baseless rumours.

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    He doesn’t know shit either. No one does until it plays out for a while.

    Beautifully phrased, JC.

    Scientifically accurate too.

  6. mem

    It’s important that healthy people adjust their behavior enough to reduce the cost of COVID-19, but not so much that the extra cost imposed by their changing behavior outweighs the potential damage done by the virus.

    World Bank new climate change policy.
    It’s important that people adjust their behavior enough to seem like they are reducing the risk of AGW, but not so much that the extra cost imposed by their changing behavior outweighs the potential damage done by AGW. sarc

  7. Sinclair Davidson

    That’s all well and good, except that you are, indeed we all are, relying on official Chinese data. We don’t know yet how reliable it is.

    but only for the Chinese data. Even if we assume it’s out by a factor of 10 – even 100 – all that says is that the other non-Chinese data are smaller. Less to worry about.

    So the thing here isn’t whether the Chinese data are wrong but whether everyone else’s data are wrong.

  8. Ed Case

    people are stocking up on hand sanitiser, toilet paper, and bottled water

    Forget the toilet paper once the supermarkets barricade the doors no one will bother going to work so soon after the pumps stop so will the toilet.
    Buy a clam shovel for digging the new toilet in the backyard instead.

  9. Luckily in Melbourne, nobody goes out of doors because of the constant threat of African gangs.

  10. Ellie

    Batteries. We all need to stock up on batteries.

  11. Fat Tony

    Ed Case
    #3340949, posted on March 2, 2020 at 5:58 pm
    people are stocking up on hand sanitiser, toilet paper, and bottled water
    Forget the toilet paper once the supermarkets barricade the doors no one will bother going to work so soon after the pumps stop so will the toilet.
    Buy a clam shovel for digging the new toilet in the backyard instead.

    You got a backyard??? You lucky bastard!!

  12. Ed Case

    If you live in units you’ll need a petrol driven concrete saw plus a clam shovel.

  13. Fisky

    The death rates have not been calculated correctly because they need to divide total deaths by (total deaths plus total recovered). We are currently dividing total deaths by cases but the problem is it takes about 4 weeks for a case to play out.

  14. Fisky

    Travel‐​and‐​immigration‐​bans are expensive.

    But Taiwan and Singapore were among the first countries to impose a mainland China travel ban, and they have comparatively few cases of CnV. Is the CATO Institute claiming they should NOT have imposed a travel ban? On what grounds.

    Furthermore, China has imposed significant internal travel bans which have gone some way to limiting the sprwad of CnV, with the overwhelming majority of deaths confined in Hubei. Is CATO going to say they were wrong to do that too?

  15. vlad

    Case Fatality Rate. Let’s be optimistic, call it 0.5%. Deaths in the next six months: Australia, 125,000

    Jo assumes 100% of the population gets infected. That isn’t going to happen. 40 to 70 per cent I can believe.

    So I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but 50 to 85 thousand dead Aussies tops, depending on the breaks.

  16. JohnJJJ

    a travel‐​and‐​immigration‐​ban would impose a cost of $323 billion to the U.S. economy in the first year.
    The old economic impact analysis. Well try this.: 37 million Yanks travel overseas in 2019. Lets say they spend between $5k and $10k. At a max this is $370 billion. So at the max $370billion would stay in the country. Tourism stats are a scam. They never taking into account: the leakage i.e. money going out, or the cost, turning the country into servants and baristas or the risks, dependence on a highly coupled industry. If nothing else the Coronavirus may destroy the tourism departments in tertiary education.
    The Chinese know this: they own the whole ‘tourism experience’: travel, shops, buses, guides, digeridus and use the host as a patsy. Zero money lost to the gweilo

  17. Archivist

    This to my mind is the important table.

    The way I read it, this table shows case fatality rate for all known cases to date, most of which are still active.
    To put it another way, most people who have caught COVID-19 at any time in history, are still infected right now. We don’t know how it will turn out for them one way or another. Maybe they’ll all recover. Maybe it’s a disease that kills slowly. We don’t know. The death rate for the Diamond Princess passengers, for example, is currently about 1 percent. But they keep dying, so who knows what it will be, once the passengers have all either recovered or died? Will it still be 1 percent or will it be 10 percent? We just don’t know.

    Therefore these numbers represent the best case scenario, not the most likely scenario.

    But even if the numbers hold up over time, they’re not cause for comfort. A disease that takes out 9 percent of all diabetics (to pick just one line item), and 1 percent of healthy people, is a health crisis.

  18. Roger

    Jo assumes 100% of the population gets infected. That isn’t going to happen.

    A leading virologist, Ian McKay, thinks so; but he also suggests most cases in Australia will be relatively mild.

    The ACE2 receptor factor in Asian males may yet explain the trend in Chinese deaths.

  19. Howard Hill

    So if we all panic we’re all gunna go broke because we’re all on average only worth ten million a piece?

    How fast will we go broke if the thing runs rampant through all out cities and we have to close our own borders to keep it in rather than out?

    Which is the best way to prepare toilet paper for eating when the food runs out?

    How much will it cost in carbon credits to cremate all the dead zombies and will it effect our ability to meet our commitment to the Paris accord? How many more windmills will we need to offset all the CO2 we’ll be pumping into the air?

    Why is it ok to destroy our economy on the precautionary principle, re Globull warming, but when it comes to a deadly virus it’s just too much of a cost?

    How much will it cost to barricade yourself in to protect yourself from all the rampaging zombies that want your head for making them sick?

    So many questions…

  20. Ed Case

    But even if the numbers hold up over time, they’re not cause for comfort. A disease that takes out 9 percent of all diabetics (to pick just one line item), and 1 percent of healthy people, is a health crisis.

    Sure but it isn’t taking out 9% of diabetics rather 9% of the diabetics who were infected died. Big difference and we don’t know if it will ever kill any healthy people.
    Having no pre existing conditions isn’t the same thing as being healthy but we do know that the most healthy people are children aged 0-9 and none of them have got sick.

  21. Chester Draws

    You either close the borders forever, or institute long and compulsory quarantine, or you might as well not bother. It’s not going to die out inside a year.

    It may be horrible, but the inevitable is inevitable.

    We can’t reliably test for it in real time, so someone is always going to slip through. It took a long time to eradicate diseases like Typhoid that are reliably symptomatic. Trying to do so with those that are often asymptomatic is a fool’s errand.

    If we could do it, we wouldn’t have the common cold in the first place.

  22. Infidel Tiger

    A leading virologist, Ian McKay, thinks so; but he also suggests most cases in Australia will be relatively mild.

    The ACE2 receptor factor in Asian males may yet explain the trend in Chinese deaths.

    I’m very curious to know the names of the Ities that have contracted it: Mario Fung? Luigi Deng? Antonella Chan?

    If it’s an Asian disease then it becomes much easier to contain.

    Dangerous that so many of medicos are of the oriental persuasion. Supply chain issues getting us again.

  23. calli

    Why is it ok to destroy our economy on the precautionary principle, re Globull warming, but when it comes to a deadly virus it’s just too much of a cost?

    Thanks Howard. That’s going into the quivver.

  24. Vicki

    As Nassim Taleb has shown, the only reason not to be panicking is a fundamental misunderstanding of stats and probability.

    IT, I always thought you are one of the most intelligent (or the most!) intelligent contributor to this blog! This assessment confirms it!!!

  25. The ACE2 receptor factor in Asian males may yet explain the trend in Chinese deaths.

    What exactly is the ACE2 receptor factor?

  26. Nob

    Only name given in this lot is Pietro Mazzocchi:

    Italy Timeline

  27. stackja

    Open the borders. Let the virus in.
    Reduce the elderly population and the immune deficient population.
    Spend the money saved on the young and healthy. Do wonders for the Australian economy. What could possibly go wrong?

  28. Nob

    Howard Hill
    #3341041, posted on March 2, 2020 at 7:08 pm
    Why is it ok to destroy our economy on the precautionary principle, re Globull warming, but when it comes to a deadly virus it’s just too much of a cost?

    Cos you can build up immunity against a virus.
    And it affects mainly the old.

    There is no known antidote to greenie-ism and it affects mainly the young.

  29. feelthebern

    I’m thinking of going on holidays to China.
    My tourist dollars might help them get back on their feet.

  30. Let’s make it very clear: There is no scientific data to support claims that a certain race or religion makes you stronger or weaker against coronavirus 2019.

    https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2020/no-race-or-religion-can-prevent-coronavirus-dont-fall-for-these-hoaxes/

  31. Ed Case

    https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2020/02/29/five_reasons_you_dont_need_to_panic_about_the_covid-19_coronavirus.html
    One of the reasons is that its only infected 1 in 1000 people in Hubei provonce. Thats still 66,000 out of a population of 59,000,000 in a state half the size of victoria.
    Also keep in mind that 150 million people in china are malnourished. Since that figure is possibly calculated on calorie intake alone the real figure may be much higher.

  32. Roger

    What exactly is the ACE2 receptor factor?

    ACE2 receptors are the entry point for some corona viruses into human beings, including covid-19.

    East Asian males reportedly have a higher number of these receptors than other ethnic groups.

    It’s an ongoing area of research.

  33. Tel

    It’s not going to die out inside a year.

    How do you know that, based on a few months of data from highly unreliable sources?

  34. You are making this up, in other words.

  35. BorisG

    Let’s be optimistic, call it 0.5%

    Where have he got it from? I would say 0.1%.

  36. BorisG

    The death rates have not been calculated correctly because they need to divide total deaths by (total deaths plus total recovered). We are currently dividing total deaths by cases but the problem is it takes about 4 weeks for a case to play out.

    yes but also there are probably many more undetected infections with mild symptoms. So as JC says, no one knows yet.

  37. The study cited as proof that East Asian males have five times the ACE2 receptors is based on a sample of one, that is ONE (1), East Asian male.

    This is not science, it’s junk.

  38. JC

    Also keep in mind that 150 million people in china are malnourished.

    That’s amusing, Ed. That’s because one of the at risk groups cited by some authority who I forget suggested that obese folks are in a higher risk category.

  39. BorisG

    Also keep in mind that 150 million people in china are malnourished.

    These are probably people in rural and remote areas where the virus has not spread yet.

  40. Roger

    You are making this up, in other words.

    Read the material supplied at the link, monty.

    It’s not made up, but it is work in progress.

    Which is why I said “may yet explain” in my first post.

    Scientists certainly aren’t excluding the possibility that this explains some aspects of the impact of this virus.

  41. Ed Case is well named. That boy ain’t right. Probably Bird.

  42. notafan

    Lol Monty

    You’d have though you would want it to be so.

    Incidentally aren’t there a number of diseased to which certain ethnicities are more vunerabl

  43. Read the material supplied at the link, monty.

    The material at the link is about how COVID-19 attaches to the ACE2 receptor. That seems to be uncontroversial at this point, even well-established.

    What is not established is whether this means Asian males are more susceptible. Your link says nothing about that. The link I posted is to a piece of junk, which is being cited by idiots who think it proves your point.

  44. Ed Case

    Hers a picture of the first Italian to die of the disease.
    https://i0.wp.com/www.news1.news/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/trevisan-kRiE-U31704009286974hH-526×[email protected]
    He was 78 at the time of hid death and a doctor on another blog says the photo isn’t recent and the man appears to be suffering COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease].

  45. Rusty of Qld

    If Asians and others have been eating monkeys and bats for hundreds or thousands of years why has this virus only showed up now?

  46. notafan

    I don’t think Chinese Australians have been habitually eaten bats for hundreds of year

  47. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Let’s see. Chinese coal consumption is down roughly 45% and logistics movements about 55%. Its borders are shut. So north Vietnam has serious food shortages. Iran has a virus procreation rate that is clearly out of control and no real means of managing it. India might well be next. Indonesia has reported a handful of cases and we know that’s nonsense, so Indonesia might yet explode with cases.
    Bonus: the lunar new year holiday has just ended, meaning that a huge number of Chinese are getting ready to travel back to their usual homes overseas.
    I think God is sending the pseudo-nationalists of the world a wake up.

  48. feelthebern

    meaning that a huge number of Chinese are getting ready to travel back to their usual homes overseas.

    You’re a bit late.

  49. Driftforge

    It is not practical to close the borders, and it is expensive to do so too.

    In what way is it not practical? It’s relatively simple as a practical matter. The difficult matter is providing thereafter a serious means of isolation for those – either as Australian’s abroad seeking to return home, or aliens wishing to enter – wishing to enter.

    That would take time (say 30-60 days in isolation) and require extensive facilities which may or may not yet be available. But that is an urgent matter to be sorted once the borders are shut, which should have been done last week instead of this pissweak ‘isolate in a third country’.

    Leaving the deaths aside, having some major fraction of the population miss work for a month due to illness is enough reason on its own to shut the border, the costs of which put the costs of loss of tourism and other minor industries into perspective.

    Let alone that Australians could tour at home.

    As a side bonus, the local universities could take a year to get their academic standards back up to scratch without the pressure of international students and their $$$ constantly pushing them down.

  50. yarpos

    “It’s important that healthy people adjust their behavior enough to reduce the cost of COVID-19, but not so much that the extra cost imposed by their changing behavior outweighs the potential damage done by the virus.”

    Spoken like a true academic, I look forward to your expert guidance on fine tuning my behavioural change.

    Looks like a bunch old folks will die (but they were going to die anyway) and some change. Being an old folk I better start adjusting.

  51. Ed Case

    Heres some dope on the incidence of ACE-2 receptors by location from something called the 100 Genomes Project https://images2.imgbox.com/66/39/omZmbR7u_o.jpg
    Smoking and air pollution increase receptor numbers. 41% of male doctors in china are smokers the number for lady doctors is around zero.

  52. Tim Neilson

    You either close the borders forever, or institute long and compulsory quarantine, or you might as well not bother. It’s not going to die out inside a year.

    Or you close the borders till a vaccine is widely available.

  53. It is not practical to close the borders, and it is expensive to do so too.

    In what way is it not practical?

    Our economies are too interconnected in these globalised times for that sudden level of isolation not to cause a deep economic depression.

  54. Driftforge

    Our economies are too interconnected in these globalised times for that sudden level of isolation not to cause a deep economic depression.

    Got one coming anyway. Might as well take the opportunity to localise our supply chains and workforce so we aren’t strung when the next one rolls around.

    Incredible advantages to being the only place not wracked by a disease like this too; any depression would be short lived.

  55. That is crazy talk, Driftforge. You’re crazy.

  56. David Brewer

    Infidel Tiger
    #3340902, posted on March 2, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    As Nassim Taleb has shown, the only reason not to be panicking is a fundamental misunderstanding of stats and probability.

    The problem is, the stats are completely unreliable as a gauge of ACTUAL coronovirus cases, and therefore useless a basis for estimating the infectivity or lethality of the disease. At this instant, they say that there have been 89,254 coronavirus cases. But this is the number of people swabbed and confirmed by a laboratory test as having the virus at the time of the swab. What percentage of people who have had coronavirus were NOT swabbed while they had it? 90%? 99%? Who knows?

    Also, think of how likely you are to be swabbed if you are very sick or die of a respiratory illness, compared to how likely you are to be swabbed if you have been exposed to coronavirus but either didn’t catch it or got a mild cough or the sniffles.

    Allowing for these factors would tend to reduce the justification for concern even below what Sinc’s calculations suggest, so like him I see good reason not to panic at this stage, though of course it ain’t over yet.

  57. John Brumble

    So if I get my hands on $10m, will you sell me your youngest relative?

  58. I can’t recall exactly but I think I recall hearing that IT had a pre-existing condition or two that would exacerbate his susceptibility. That sort of thing tends to focus the mind in times like these.

  59. feelthebern

    Might as well take the opportunity to localise our supply chains and workforce so we aren’t strung when the next one rolls around.

    Oh, how we laughed

  60. Nob

    It makes sense for Northern hemisphere countries to slow down movements and mass gatherings during their winter when medical facilities are usually overloaded with seasonal outbreaks anyway.

    Slow it down until May or June when they can cope better.

    It doesn’t matter so much sense for Australia and NZ.

    It’s gonna go through the population eventually like every virus.

    Unlikely to be a vaccine before next Northern autumn.

    The usual thing they do is base it on Australia’s flu variation from the preceding southern winter.

    Australia can’t afford to close borders.

    As always, need to control them though.

  61. Driftforge

    That is crazy talk, Driftforge. You’re crazy.

    If you think so, that’s probably a good sign.

    Oh look, from a political perspective, the only valid move is to let the virus in and have its way with the nation. Even if it looked like the death rate was 10% instead of 1%, that would still be the politically astute move, because the established dogma is that it would be better for half the world to die than to do anything that would jeopardise globalism.

    And maybe it does work out to be an overly common cold.

    But from every other perspective, society is better off with not having a major fraction of the population take a month off work at approximately the same time.

  62. Archivist

    Allowing for these factors would tend to reduce the justification for concern even below what Sinc’s calculations suggest

    Bullshit. You’re attempting to apply seasonal flu analogies in western nations where the analogy doesn’t fit.

    Most cases are in Wuhan, so let’s talk about Wuhan.

    All public transport in Wuhan is shut down, driving is prohibited, and leaving your home is prohibited with some exceptions. There have been numerous reports of sick people unable to get to hospital; there are reports that the hospitals are full anyway and won’t take any more. For several days the medical teams maxed out their test kits and simply couldn’t test any more. Therefore, the people they failed to test in Wuhan and surrounding areas of Wuhan are not the ‘mild cases’, they’re just the cases they didn’t test for various reasons. Nothing more. People of Wuhan are sitting in their high rise apartments, getting sick and either recovering or dying. Nobody fully grasps the outcome of the Wuhan experiment yet. The Chinese health authorities can issue all the stats in the world, but until they doornock every Wuhan apartment and out what’s up, they’re talking out of their arses.

    Let’s wait and see, when the Wuhan lockdown ends and residents reemerge onto the streets, where things stand. Until then, we just have to agree that we don’t know.

  63. Archivist

    tldr version: Wuhan’s infrastructure was overwhelmed. The fact that there may be undocumented cases in Wuhan is not cause for comfort, because there’s no reason to believe they are milder than the documented cases.

  64. Fisky

    Hilarious thing about CATO libertarians opposing travel bans is that most of the travel bans actually started at the free market – with multiple airlines refusing to fly in or out of China – with countries then following suit.

    So are “libertarians” going to tell all the major airlines they called this one wrong or what? Surely airlines would only shut down travel routes (losing HUGE amounts of revenue in the process) if they had themselves done the cost-benefit analysis and decided it wasn’t worth it.

    It seems globalist open borders ideology runs roughshod over private enterprise, as far as “libertarians” are concerned.

  65. Oh look, from a political perspective, the only valid move is to let the virus in and have its way with the nation. Even if it looked like the death rate was 10% instead of 1%, that would still be the politically astute move, because the established dogma is that it would be better for half the world to die than to do anything that would jeopardise globalism.

    You are setting up a false choice. We do not have to abandon globalism to fight pandemics.

    The choice is between laissez-faire Darwinism, which is what you want, or government-funded scientific intervention, which is what any sane person would want.

  66. Chris M

    53 year old doctor in intensive care in Sydney, but glad I read this to know it’s OK just like a bad cold or flu and statistically he’s looking sweet. Probably a smoker who also breathed in too much Sydney pollution walking past the kebab and hookah stalls.

  67. Fisky

    53 year old doctor in intensive care in Sydney, but glad I read this to know it’s OK just like a bad cold or flu and statistically he’s looking sweet. Probably a smoker who also breathed in too much Sydney pollution walking past the kebab and hookah stalls.

    Yes, the “just a flu” flu which infects 4 other people for each new case, and puts 20% of sufferers in the ICU.

    According to muh textbook, it’s a net benefit to let the thing run wild!

  68. JC

    Fisk

    I read somewhere that the best way to heal is to go on a ventilator. I think only ICUs have ventilators, no? Also, the sufferers need to be kept well away from everyone else so ICU is the best place.

  69. Fisky

    Yeah something like that.

    The thing that really worries me about this thing is, you can basically have it for up to a month (even more in some cases) without knowing and infect huge numbers of people, and you are NOT immune after having recovered.

    So it becomes like a relay -> A passes it to B who passes it C then back to A who has recovered in the meantime but is now re-infected, and on to B again… And you probably won’t survive catching it too often.

    We don’t know the true incubation period, we don’t know how long it is truly infectious for, and even those who have “recovered” have often been diagnosed as positive again. Were they really re-infected? How do we know they didn’t still have the virus all along but the symptoms subsided a bit? Certainly the number of false negative tests would suggest we simply have no idea at all. There is nothing stopping this from circulating forever.

    So I don’t think the CATO Institute should be publishing half-baked rubbish given we have no idea what medium to long term damage this is causing public health and ultimately the economy as well.

  70. So I don’t think the CATO Institute should be publishing half-baked rubbish

    When did that ever stop them?

  71. Infidel Tiger

    “It makes no sense economically to close the border”

    Econometrics obsessed think tankers really are sociopaths.

    Thank God the neoliberal experiment is over. A complete failure.

  72. Arky

    Libertarians.
    Is there anyone they won’t kill to keep those sweet, sweet heroin mules and lawn keepers coming?

  73. Arky

    I guess a libertarian’s wet dream is a jumbo jet of SARS infected lawn keepers with butts full of heroin landing every minute.

  74. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Forgot to mention. Three of Australia’s primary coal fired power stations are virtually stuffed. Cheers to those who’ve been wanking on energy policy these past two decades.

  75. Whalehunt fun

    Nonsense. Closing the borders is simple. One order to the armed forces: kill anyone approaching from outside the country. Crude and cargo containers can be delivered and taken with hout a single merchant sailor leaving the ship. Tourism contributes SFA to the economy. The ignorant filth that pretend it contributes a great amount overlook the fact the that most money spent by tourists is consumed in providing the resources they consume. Every worker in the worthless tourist industry would be more contributive in other jobs. Absolutely no plane trac vel is necessary in these days of skype. Shut the place up and kill any idiot who even spproaches on anything other than a cargo ship. Especially anyone from the UN or N bleeding Z.

  76. BorisG

    As a side bonus, the local universities could take a year to get their academic standards back up to scratch without the pressure of international students and their $$$ constantly pushing them down.

    You will pay their salaries for a year?

  77. BorisG

    Shut the place up and kill any idiot who even spproaches on anything other than a cargo ship.

    It is so nice that Cats have exactly zero influence on the Australian government.

  78. David Brewer

    Archivist
    #3341294, posted on March 2, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Most cases are in Wuhan, so let’s talk about Wuhan.

    The problem is, Wuhan does not seem to be typical of what is happening in Western countries including Australia, and as long as that continues, Wuhan is no guide as to whether we should fear a Corona-apocalypse here. And as you yourself say:

    Nobody fully grasps the outcome of the Wuhan experiment yet. The Chinese health authorities can issue all the stats in the world, but until they doornock every Wuhan apartment and [find] out what’s up, they’re talking out of their arses.

    Interesting interview with US expert Anthony Fauci here. He does (cautiously) use the mortality statistics, which are mostly from China and need to be taken with a large grain of salt, but he also points to new “community spread” cases of coronavirus detected in the USA. These are people “popping up” with the virus but with no known original source or “index case”. Health officials will try to trace how these people caught the bug, but however it was, one, or two, or maybe ten people will have carried the virus between somebody in Wuhan and these new cases. Moreover, those one or two or ten people may have infected multiple others, who themselves infected multiple others, none of whom have yet been detected, and practically all whom will have to go into the denominator but not the numerator of the mortality statistics.

  79. David Brewer

    See also Dr Mark Siegel here, commenting on a purported death rate of 1.4%, already noticeably lower than the 2-2.3% that Fauci quoted last week (from 3.05):

    The death rate, I think we are going to find out that it’s lower than the numbers you just put up there. You know why? Because there is probably, as you said at the very beginning, many people who have had mild cases, or even cases with no symptoms at all, that we didn’t know about – in China, and around the world, and even here [i.e. USA].

    And the death rate outside China will also be lower because of lower aid pollution.

  80. OldOzzie

    The New England Journal of Medicine – EDITORIAL

    Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted

    List of authors.
    Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

    On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%.4 In another article in the Journal, Guan et al.5 report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

    The efficiency of transmission for any respiratory virus has important implications for containment and mitigation strategies

  81. OldOzzie

    “What Are The Odds?” – A Timeline Of Facts Linking Covid-19, HIV, & Wuhan’s Secret Bio-Lab

    Scott Burke, CEO of crypto-related firm Groundhog, unleashed what we feel may be the most complete timelines of facts to help understand the controversial links between COVID-19 and HIV, and COVID-19 and Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    Want to go down a (strictly fact-based) rabbit hole?

    Here is the full slightly-edited-for-formatting twitter thread…

    A disclaimer: I am not a virologist. This is me synthesizing what we have learned since the outbreak began and reviewing public scientific papers. I believe each of the following statements is a solid fact, backed up by a citation.

    I also want to say that I understand some people are worried about blame being cast for this outbreak. Obviously we are all in this together, and my intention here is not to cast blame. These links overwhelmingly compel further scrutiny, but are not conclusive.

    I do think however that information is being downplayed and suppressed by some scientists and media outlets and it’s our duty to find out the facts about this virus, do what we can to mitigate the outbreak, and prevent it from happening again.

  82. OldOzzie

    “They’re Flying It In!” – Canadians Furious At Trudeau As Government Refuses To Stop Travelers From Iran

    Furious Canadians slammed the government for failing to cancel flights from Iran, presently the country with the worst outbreak outside China, and other policies that suggest a dangerously blithe response from the government, perhaps as a consequence of PM Trudeau’s commitment to ‘woke’ policies (many have slammed travel bans as racist).

  83. Vicki

    Thank you all Cats for a spirited and, as usual, in depth analysis of the issues.

    I still think that many are overlooking the central issue with this virus – the extraordinary infection rate. It is way beyond normal strains of influenza, or even other corona viruses. so, while the mortality rate may be quite low, it will infect and debilitate, and kill enormous numbers around the world.

    Admittedly, this depends (at the moment) on calculations based largely on the outbreak in Wuhan. I understand the argument that unreported cases may dilute the statistics, but are we really going to conclude that, even if this is the case, that this virus is just another dose of the flu???

  84. Peter

    Do the maths !
    from 1 to 90,000 infections in 90 days , 1 dec to 29 Feb
    Approx 10 % need a high care hospital bed with ventilator
    approx 1% die in a hospital will die
    The numbers moving forward are enormous !
    Wake up, this is not the flu, it is much much more infectious than the flu, and kills 10 times more than the flu.
    On the evidence and facts to date, where will the world be in 90, 180, 270, 360 days from now ?

  85. Pyrmonter

    @ Nob, etc.

    I’m intrigued. Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease of uncertain aetiology, but a guaranteed catastrophe to take efficient steps to limit CO2 output?

    There are people who are consistent – Greens who would shut the economy down regardless; people like the Doomlord who think both problems are myths, or nearly so – but also a surprising number (seemingly including Jo Nova) who think the slow, but fairly well studied adverse consequences of increasing atmospheric CO2 is a left wing conspiracy, but an infectious disease the basis for the immediate imposition of autarky.

  86. That is an excellent question, Pyrmonter.

  87. Keithy

    It would appear that our upcoming trip to India transiting through Honkers on Thursday can now be classified as an extreme sport.As a borderline obese ,69 year old with type 2 diabetes the statistics are not favourable.Despite this we will still go but have plenty of hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes plus a stock of face masks.I knew that being a bushfire volunteer would be handy as the P2 masks are standard issue.
    If I look at the numbers from a different perspective then 3000 deaths in a 6 billion population is not too horrible.

  88. Archivist

    Pyrmonter, perhaps the logic goes like this:

    * Australian climate policy, on its own, will have no impact on the wellbeing of current or future Australians. Actions taken by the rest of the world are what matters.

    * Australian pandemic policy, on its own, will affect the wellbeing of current Australians, making the difference between life and death for many. Actions taken by other countries are secondary.

  89. Archivist

    Vicki

    I still think that many are overlooking the central issue with this virus – the extraordinary infection rate

    correct.

    It is way beyond normal strains of influenza, or even other corona viruses. so, while the mortality rate may be quite low, it will infect and debilitate, and kill enormous numbers around the world.

    It’s not low.
    The 1 percent figure quoted by Sinc is the best case scenario, and assumes that nobody who is currently sick with coronavirus (there are 50,000 such people) will die.

  90. Iampeter

    Apparently even with something like ebola the initial symptoms are so minor that travel restrictions wouldn’t work and just misallocate scarce resources making the virus problem worse.
    In any case, don’t fall into the trap of debating this with these leftists.
    Nationalists don’t care about any virus, just like greenies don’t care about the environment.
    Both factions just want to regulate our lives and that’s all this is about.

  91. Archivist

    Apparently even with something like ebola the initial symptoms are so minor that travel restrictions wouldn’t work and just misallocate scarce resources making the virus problem worse.

    What dangerous nonsense.

  92. Ellie

    Apparently even with something like ebola the initial symptoms are so minor that travel restrictions wouldn’t work and just misallocate scarce resources making the virus problem worse.
    In any case, don’t fall into the trap of debating this with these leftists.
    Nationalists don’t care about any virus, just like greenies don’t care about the environment.
    Both factions just want to regulate our lives and that’s all this is about.

    Well said, Peter.

  93. Diogenes

    In an earlier Open Thread I mention a conspiracy theory that the Chinese were trying to eliminate their elderly, and somebody said that could not be true based on the ages of the dead that were being reported. At the time I did not subscribe to that conspiracy theory, but now,looking at the graph of deaths/age I am starting to wonder.

  94. Pyrmonter

    @ Arch

    That’s a start. The point essentially being that ‘Australia’ can capture a higher share of the benefit deriving from its effort (remembering that suppressing infectious diseases has collective good attributes). However it says nothing about the relative costs or benefits of either policy. There are a few left wing memes that more or less sum it up, rather pithily: https://imgur.com/gallery/TK9ebjM

  95. John of Mel

    but also a surprising number (seemingly including Jo Nova) who think the slow, but fairly well studied adverse consequences

    Not true.

    of increasing atmospheric CO2 is a left wing conspiracy,

    True, with a correction: not left wing, but globalist conspiracy.

  96. Struth

    True, with a correction: not left wing, but globalist conspiracy.

    Show me a right wing open borders globalist, please.

  97. John of Mel

    True that, Struth.

  98. Tim Neilson

    but also a surprising number (seemingly including Jo Nova) who think the slow, but fairly well studied adverse consequences

    That’s utter nonsense.

    No adverse consequences from increased CO2 have been observed. None at all.

    Any assertions about consequences of increased CO2 (other than the well documented increase in plant life) are just predictions without supporting real world evidence, and the predictions of benefits are just as plausible as predictions of adverse consequences.

  99. dover_beach

    4,335 South Korea
    2,036 Italy
    1,501 Iran

    SK broke the 4K barrier a day before I guessed on Friday (although I did say Monday was a definite possibility). If things are going as they seem to be, I’m calling 8K by Sunday. I’m surprised that Italy has broke the 2K barrier and that Iran is reporting 1.5K given it was under 150 a week ago. This is a problem I really wouldn’t want to be underestimating.

  100. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    The link I posted is to a piece of junk, which is being cited by idiots who think it proves your point.

    M0nty is correct here. I have also in the Open Forum mentioned this piece of junk. Eight cases, only one Asian, and no proper histology; not a ‘sample’ of any sort. There is histological and biochemical evidence that CoV2 does attach in a good surface ‘fit’ to ACE2 cells; also noted in discussions is a somewhat spurious speculation that Asian men may have more of these in the lung than other groups (not yet shown and the ‘junk’ piece rejected). ACE2 cells become CoV2 endothelial receptors in the lungs, the small intestine, the walls of arteries, and most tellingly, the heart itself (maybe causing some of the sudden death by cytokine storm being displayed), although the infection in the heart cells is not histologically shown yet. This was all quite well covered in one of the Peak Prosperity website discussions re what it loosely termed the ‘balance in the ACE2 hormone system’ which includes angiotensins. This useful site also provides references to relevant refereed disciplinary research publications which can also be accessed.

    So much is as yet unknown concerning this infection and its parameters in both clinical epidemiology and population epidemiology. There is no doubt that we will eventually control it if not absolutely beat it – just like an influenza. We will also as a species gain immunity over time. If there is a period of infectivity without immunity then we just have to cope with that using the tools we have to make that epidemic curve smooth out a bit to buy time for adequate retrieval treatment of all severe cases. There will come a time when community prevalence descends into a slowly rolling low endemic disease, and economically damaging bans will be next to useless. With luck the worst will be over by then.

  101. Oliver Willis @owillis
    Infectious diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci has to stop Trump from asserting in a White House meeting that coronavirus vaccine would be available in two months: “Like I’ve been telling you, a year to a year and a half.”

    Oliver Willis @owillis
    Medical experts at the White House have to patiently explain to Trump that his idea of using the flu vaccine to address the coronavirus will not work.

    Trump is an idiot.

  102. dover_beach

    Fisky, my calculation of the cfr is 3.41% and that assumes that confirmed cases that haven’t died yet recover.

  103. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Dover, I think you put up that Peak Prosperity video on ACE2, perhaps put it here too for information. South Korea are doing extensive drive-by testing on roadways to pick up cases ‘in the community’ so of course their rates are going to be higher, and more realistic. I’ve suggests on the Open Forum that ‘drive-by’ fever clinics would be a good idea for Australia’s car-based suburbs. If we can do it for drink driving, we are all set to do it for CoV2. In South Korea medical personnel in full biohazard gear do five-hour shifts without removing it (no going to toilet, nothing to drink). I read that in the North of England some community health services are offering drive-by clinics too (don’t know if in full biohazard gear or not).

    I also saw in the US news (ABC or CNN?) that this week President Trump has a meeting with cruise ship and airline personnel to discuss CoV issues with them. I am hoping that they can determine a system to properly isolate any sudden cruise ship case presentations (which may occur post the initial screening) until removal to a western-style hospital, and still continue with the cruise, having an agreement with relevant countries re docking given infection control protocols have been followed. Making cruise ships floating incubators is going to kill this industry otherwise; airlines are already given more leeway.

  104. candy

    >Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease of uncertain aetiology, but a guaranteed catastrophe to take efficient steps to limit CO2 output?

    A decent society that cares will undergo some financial hardship to keep it’s vulnerable alive.
    Climate change – who is sick and who is dying?

  105. dover_beach

    There are roughly 2K ICU beds in Australia. If 20% of cases need to be hospitalized, how do you think we are going to cope with anything over 500 cases? Most of those beds are already taken. If you give them the capacity to deal with 100 cases were isolation is paramount, anything more is going to stress the hospital system severely.

  106. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Trump is an idiot.

    Trump is often misreported by those who a barrow to push, M0nty, as with this example.

    Israel has said they can get a vaccine within two months, Australia is hard on its heels as are many other vaccine producers. Testing is of course the time lag issue, but in times of emergency some of the more stupid provisos can be relaxed. So Trump is not absolutely wrong, although for a good, safe, tested, reliable and effective vaccine that is easily available and amenable to tweaking if the virus mutates: that is at least a year to a year and a half if we are lucky.

    Some of the influenza antivirals are actually being used on Covid-19 patients not always without effect, and certainly Remdesvirir, an antiviral used (and ineffective) for Ebola, is proving useful for Covid-19. Trump has likely been told this, and of further searches for treatments, and wants to use faith in medical help to gee up the ‘don’t panic’ message.

    Of course the left go for his jugular. It’s what they do. They have thoroughly politicised this virus.

  107. A decent society that cares will undergo some financial hardship to keep it’s vulnerable alive.
    Climate change – who is sick and who is dying?

    You are not making sense, candy. We have had one death and barely any infections of Australians from coronavirus.

    We are anticipating death and suffering from the disease in the future, as we are with AGW. How you and Jo Nova can hold that cognitive dissonance in your heads is a mystery to me.

  108. Snoopy

    If 20% of cases need to be hospitalized, how do you think we are going to cope with anything over 500 cases?

    Victims over 66 yo will be given paracetamol and placed under house arrest.

  109. Struth

    We are anticipating death and suffering from the disease in the future, as we are with AGW. How you and Jo Nova can hold that cognitive dissonance in your heads is a mystery to me.

    Evidence ……………….work out what that means.

  110. Trump is often misreported by those who a barrow to push, M0nty, as with this example.

    I linked to video of him talking at a televised meeting. No misreporting.

    Some of the influenza antivirals are actually being used on Covid-19 patients not always without effect, and certainly Remdesvirir, an antiviral used (and ineffective) for Ebola, is proving useful for Covid-19.

    It was used on one patient. That is hardly conclusive. Trump is bullshitting, as usual.

  111. Victims over 66 yo will be given paracetamol and placed under house arrest.

    You jest, but actually house arrest would be the solution in a lot of cases. They have this system now called Hospital in the Home where a nurse does home visits to administer drugs to free up hospital beds. Not quite sure how that works in the case of IV drips and more complicated equipment requirements, but I think that’s the route they will have to go down.

  112. Leo G

    There are roughly 2K ICU beds in Australia. If 20% of cases need to be hospitalized, how do you think we are going to cope with anything over 500 cases?

    Not all those hospitalised need ICU beds. Excluding China, there are presently about 9200 active cases of which fewer than 300 are serious or critical cases. Those 2000 ICU beds suggests Australia could not cope with more than 65,000 active cases (assuming all ICUs were dedicated to managing coronavirus cases).

  113. Snoopy

    The death rate is over 6%.

    Is that enough to address the climate emergency?

  114. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Home treatment with portable O2 could supplement hospital O2 treatment. O2 assistance in breathing and giving IV fluids (also coming: plasma containing antibodies spun from those recovered?) is the first line of defensive medical treatment. Plus various antibiotic covers for protection. I just hope our system has enough simple respirators and IV fluids and the staff to provide these. Full on ICU is only needed for the very worst cases. Of course everyone hopes that full ICU will be available for all who need it, but I think there will be a fairly strict triage on it. If you look like surviving without it, you might be left to survive on your own no matter how uncomfortable or worrying that might be.

    I read somewhere (can’t recall details) that one extreme plan was to leave all in elderly care homes to fend for themselves without ICU. I hope it would never come to that, nor that ability to pay should become a decider. Nor that it should ever come to refusing to prioritize the elderly in the community. But epidemics can and do create some bad precedents, forgotten when better times emerge again. Influenza 1918-19 demonstrated that.

  115. I read somewhere (can’t recall details) that one extreme plan was to leave all in elderly care homes to fend for themselves without ICU.

    Kaboomervirus, indeed.

  116. Infidel Tiger

    You can start comparing Coronavirus to AGW if in 30 years time we have completely reordered the economy, spent tens of trillions of dollars and the virus has shown zero effects or killed a single person.

  117. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Is that enough to address the climate emergency?

    lol Snoopy. At least this may bring an end to ferals gluing themselves to the road.

  118. Snoopy

    I read somewhere (can’t recall details) that one extreme plan was to leave all in elderly care homes to fend for themselves without ICU.

    No extreme plan necessary. Aged care nurses simply won’t turn up for work.

  119. dover_beach

    More people have died in three months from COVID-19 then will ever die from AGW ever.

  120. Roger

    Victims over 66 yo will be given paracetamol and placed under house arrest.

    Meant in jest, I assume, but actually the government does indeed have powers of enforced home isolation under bio-security laws.

  121. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    I linked to video of him talking at a televised meeting. No misreporting.

    M0nty, the misreporting was to jest and jibe at what he was saying. As I’ve suggested, he was trying to instill confidence in the medical system, and this is very important to maintain community cohesion and to avoid undue panic.

    If the Dimocrats had any honesty they would be backing him to the hilt in the good efforts he has made so far, such as the travel bans. Instead they have tried to take him down over them, and are now destroying his attempts to ease social panic about this epidemic. You don’t win over epidemics by increasing panic. Nor by politicizing the issues. Nor by playing divide and rule with the population.

    Dimocrats stink. No other word for it.

  122. Infidel Tiger

    The only known deaths from global warming in Australia were an elderly man stabbed to death for watering his lawn and 4 young men who died in ceilings, forced to instal dodgy insulation by a sociopath named Rudd.

  123. Roger

    Man’s response to the perceived threat of global warming will kill more people than global warming.

  124. Pyrmonter

    @ IT

    The paradox – the one of which I periodically complain here – is that by refusing to use ‘general’ measures like a CO2 output charge – the politics of CO2 abatement policy are ceded to an unholy alliance of (a) anti-capitalist public servants and ‘environmental’ activists (the latter of whom are mostly watermelons); (b) the pragmatic social liberals, whose woolly thinking mistakes gesture for action (think Turnbull and those who turn out for ‘Coalition for Climate’ events, though not often the organisers); and (c) the hard-nosed transnational/grifting class, for whom CO2 abatement has been the best thing since the days when the then Country Party sold tariffs and import quotas for campaign contributions.

    We’re incurring the economic cost, but because policy is irrational, there is very little to show for it.

  125. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Meant in jest, I assume, but actually the government does indeed have powers of enforced home isolation under bio-security laws.

    Voluntary ‘self-isolation’ has already become part of the control measures and the general discourse.

    Making it ‘involuntary’ is a simple next step, for which there are public health powers already.

    I would like to see some further efforts put into public health measures to assist people to maintain home-isolation. There is a possibility of bringing charities and voluntary organisations into this, a sort of large scale meals-on-wheels for the home incarcerated. Thus, as I’ve suggested, keeping a fortnight’s supply of needed things, including food, in your home would ease the burden on such ‘assistance’ services, and also on family members elsewhere who may also be under such orders. Having readily available drive-by clinics would also be a good infection control measure. Gathering people together in ‘clinics’ and ‘recovery hospitals’ is not a good move if there are alternatives that would reduce the general contagion and the improve the patient’s wellbeing. Hospitals are already sinks of horrible infections.

  126. Roger

    I would like to see some further efforts put into public health measures to assist people to maintain home-isolation.

    Bad government messaging today and bad reporting – a warning that government may close shopping centres.

    Without further detail, that is only likely to provoke further panic buying.

  127. M0nty, the misreporting was to jest and jibe at what he was saying. As I’ve suggested, he was trying to instill confidence in the medical system, and this is very important to maintain community cohesion and to avoid undue panic.

    He is bullshitting, by which I mean he is saying things that he doesn’t know are true and he doesn’t care if they are true or not, because they suit his political agenda.

    All this handwaving about “lefties want the world to burn to make Trump look bad” is all fun and games until Trump’s incompetence – which is what we are actually complaining about – has bad consequences. So far he has been lucky. This time he might not.

  128. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    It was used on one patient.

    Reported initially re one, but since used on others so informal reports say. As with other antivirals.
    We just don’t have the full case history treatment details with outcomes and further refereed publications yet. A lot is still very experimental. Trump is, and has always been, an optimist who searches for solutions.

    He is just the man to have in charge now. Imagine Sleepy Joe at the helm, or Bernie the Wrecker, or even the Blinky Billionaire. No thanks.

  129. Confused Old Misfit

    keeping a fortnight’s supply of needed things

    I think, given the uncertainty surrounding the incubation process of this virus, that one’s stockpile should cover a period of at least a month.
    I shudder to think of the consequences of the first case discovered in a senior citizens care facility or nursing home.
    As for centres of infection, “everyone knows” about hospitals. Consider the sanitation levels in an imperfectly run nursing home.
    That the virus will get among us is, I think, a given. The first line of defense for the individual must be personal hygiene.
    So…Wash Your Hands!

  130. Tim Neilson

    until Trump’s incompetence – which is what we are actually complaining about – has bad consequences. So far he has been lucky.

    This is exactly correct!

    Trump has been incompetent but lucky ever since mid-2015 when he announced his candidacy right up until the present day.

    Monty’s predictions of disaster after disaster caused by Trump have always been sagacious and insightful – it’s just that Trump’s astonishing good luck has disguised the true extent of monty’s genius.

    You KNOW it makes sense!!!!

  131. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Trump’s incompetence

    I haven’t seen any real incompetence re responses to Corona virus yet. He went ahead with the travel bans against dimocrat’ wittering about ‘racism’. I think maintaining American optimism by referring to faith in America’s medical system is the way to go. Do you think Sleepy Jo would be able to stay awake long enough to comprehend the business and infection control case being put by the cruise ship and airline operators? I doubt it. Also, Trump is not someone who refuses to take advice. He wouldn’t have run his businesses so successfully if he was. Nor the co-ordination of his magnificent campaigns.

    Take your hat off, M0nty. You are talking through it. Probably think it will steer away a virus you call Trump. You did see the NYT absolutely disgraceful depiction of Trump as the Corona virus, didn’t you? Trump Derangement Syndrome doesn’t get more sinister and deranged than that. Get off that boat now, M0nts. You are too good to be on it.

  132. Arky

    Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease

    ..
    Behold the bugman.
    Words fail.
    If you don’t know why we should protect society from infectious diseases you are a complete fool.

  133. Seth

    You people are insane.

    Do something more useful…go howl at the moon.

  134. Arky

    Notice how the suggestions from the ruling class involve no actual response from themselves.
    “Wash your hands regularly and get a good night’s sleep”.
    Fucking hilarious.
    How about you planned for something that could be anticipated since 2003 and SARS, and has been unfolding in front of your stupid eyes for the last three months in China.
    You stupid, dishonest, lazy, greedy shits.

  135. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Do something more useful…go howl at the moon.

    You’re speaking from experience there, aren’t you Seth? 😀

  136. dover_beach

    Who are the ‘you people’?

  137. I think maintaining American optimism by referring to faith in America’s medical system is the way to go.

    Trump is trying to pretend everything is going to work out without him contributing because he has no plan for when it doesn’t.

    Also his administration has been trying to destroy Obamacare for years, and is still doing so with the case going to SCOTUS next year. Typical that he wants to rely on it when the chips are down, and take credit for its efficacy.

  138. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    We are anticipating death and suffering from the disease in the future, as we are with AGW.

    Oh M0nts. You really have drunk the Kool-Aid there. AGW is mostly a fantasy; anyone looking at the faked data and hopeless modelling can see that. If only the same level of analytical skepticism and statistical reservation was being applied to AGW as is being well-applied to this epidemic, AGW would ave sunk below the horizon long ago, left only to a few hippie hold-outs toking away in their mud huts somewhere on Australia’s coast as they clutch their iphones and wait for their tax-provided dole money.

    China hasn’t shut down over that, but a reality, and it is headed our way. Maybe it will attenuate quickly in the West or indeed elsewhere. We can only hope. And sensibly plan for it to be fairly disruptive while we control it.

  139. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    his administration has been trying to destroy Obamacare for years

    Oh dear. Obamacare was and is extremely high cost and inefficient insurance extended to many who don’t want to pay it. Public systems are necessary and America has always had them, but bringing a very good current medical insurance-based system to its knees is no way to improve things for the poor.

  140. faked data and hopeless modelling

    Stick to nursing, Lizzie.

  141. Confused Old Misfit

    Monty appears to have forgot his impeccable record as a political forecaster.

  142. Medicaid Expansion Has Saved at Least 19,000 Lives, New Research Finds
    State Decisions Not to Expand Have Led to 15,000 Premature Deaths

    And that’s just one aspect of the ACA.

  143. Arky

    Monty’s heroes all buy ocean front property in the most expensive parts of the world.
    That’s all you need to know about “climate change”.
    Like Obama’s new Martha Vineyard home.
    Yep, the person who bought that believes in climate change and social justice.
    If you believe that, you are a sucker. A stupid, stupid sucker.

  144. Fisky

    Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease

    But the travel bans were overwhelmingly led by the airlines, who presumably calculated the lost revenue was lower than the cost of allowing the virus to infect their staff and passengers.

    Hello?! I thought “libertarians” were suppised to be in favour of private enterprise!

  145. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Twenty million (some say fifty million) people died from ‘Spanish’ Influenza over 1918-19. America, as elsewhere, was badly hit. But life still went on once the epidemic died away, as they tend to do, for herd immunity improves even despite reinfections, viruses attenuate via ‘passage’ through many individuals and loss of environmental opportunity, and the most susceptible have already died (sorry to be so blunt). Life went on so well that we developed the ‘roaring twenties’, a time of economic development which ended only in the Great Depression, where various forms of flu existed as an endemic seasonal curse not an epidemic one.

    I’ve often thought that this Great Pandemic coupled with the Great War produced a sort of madness in the cities if not in the countryside; a lot of alcohol excess and partying like there was no tomorrow and a release of social and thinking constraints that while it changed social mores probably also provided a tremendous stimulus to innovation. There was also a concomitant return to puritanism and teetotalism.

  146. Pyrmotner

    @ monty

    We are straying slightly off topic, but:

    his administration has been trying to destroy Obamacare for years

    As a general rule, the further are matters from Trump’s personal influence, the more orthodox and better his administration’s policies are. Healthcare appears to be one such area.

    In trying to ameliorate the effects of Obamacare, the administration may be trying to unscramble the eggs, but it has reason to. Rather like so much policy here, Obamacare papers over cracks and mistakes fundamental product definition (what is to be provided: ‘health’ or medical care?) and supply problems (state-based licensing) for a demand and distribution problem. Obamacare does nothing to bridge the gap between what the US pays for healthcare, and for what leading, only somewhat more market-oriented countries like Singapore and Hong Kong do. To yield better mortality and morbidity data. A local parallel can be drawn with the various schemes (again, cross party) to change the structure of demand for housing, none of which do anything useful about supply constraints. (In fact, as an aside, these are likely to get worse in the near future as David Chandler’s construction industry reforms bite in NSW).

    Trump is a braggart and a deeply unattractive man. So far as it has they have any coherence, the old protectionists and new nationalists who form his support base are bad, when not mad. Trump has profited from pointing out that much of the political establishment in the US, across the parties, has been nakedly self-serving, and has been populated with practitioners with inflated CVs and many fewer skills than they had been thought. But that is not reason for dismissing everything his administration does. In some areas, in particular on the de-regulation front, his administration has done more than any GOP administration since Bush I, if not Reagan.

  147. Pyrmonter

    @ Fisky

    So far as travel is reduced by a fall in demand, and at least so far as the fall is not driven by mistakes about avoidance, I doubt libertarians do have a problem with a fall in it.

    The issue is the Nova ‘Stop the Flights’ mantra: the idea that if an idea can be reduced to three words, it somehow must be attractive. That government can deliver us. That policy is simple, and a matter of atavistic emotion, and not reason.

    These three words come to mind: ‘Jim Hacker Fallacy’.

  148. Fisky

    But the reality is both Singapore and Taiwan have been tremendously successful in stemming the virus, and one of their early measures was a travel ban on Mainland China. They have so far had minimal disruption.

    South Korea by contrast followed the advice of libertarians, left their border with China open, and consequently the virus is ripping through that country at rates comparable to China.

    So I wouldn’t be listening to “libertarians” on this issue.

  149. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    The Black Death of 1348-53ad killed half the world’s population at that time, between 75-200 million died, and the economy later boomed due to the end of the serf system and the seeks of doubting the power of the Roman church were sown. The Great Plague of Justinian, 541-542ad killed 25 million and occurred not long after a 5-year weak-sun ‘winter’ hit the earth circa 536ad creating widespread famine (due to massive volcanic debris or an asteroid, take your pick). In Britain records say that King Arthur died in 536ad and I have published how and why I think Arthur was a sun god. The Minoan Explosion on Santorini circa 1600bc put a tsunami over Crete and Egypt causing widespread disruption and famine due to locust plagues. The Biblical ‘parting of the Red Sea’ may be a mythic remnant memory of this. Egypt only slowly recovered after a period of hysteria under Akhenaten about appeasing a ‘sun’ god and Greece and then Rome rose to become major powers under a much less hidebound religious system than found in Egypt.

    Major human catastrophes do have consequences. China will probably recover quickly from this one, and so will we, for modern societies have much more capacity to respond and bounce back. But China may never be quite the same again. Let’s see.

  150. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    oops. Seeds of doubting, not seeks

  151. mh

    Fisky
    #3341827, posted on March 3, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Yes, I remember Singapore acting very early and I commented on their wise move.

    We are in a constant struggle against the disastrous ideas of the libertarians and globalists.

  152. Infidel Tiger

    Better a billion people die than one diseased man be stopped crossing the border.

    – Libertarians 2020.

  153. Roger

    Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease

    Not to mention the lost potential output of the labourer lost forever due to an uncontained infectious disease.

    But I suppose he’s merely an easily replaceable economic unit in your moral universe?

  154. Pyrmonter

    @ Lizzie – not sure how seriously to take the last post, but …

    1 – evidence for the aftermath of the Black Death is less consistent and extensive than we’d like, but, while it is thought to have changed consumption patterns (toward more luxury goods), it is questionable whether it resulted in a net increase in affluence: while inheritances may have funded some increased consumption, production also fell. It was a bad time to be a landlord.

    2 – more importantly, you’re falling for a form of the broken windows fallacy. Even had incomes ‘rebounded’ and grown after the losses of the Black Death, that would not show that it was a ‘good thing’ – you need to compare it with how things would have gone had the BD not occurred. Which might have been gradual, incremental growth. (Or a Malthusian tragedy (cf 16th and 19th century Ireland)). It’s a variation on the old ‘progressive’ line that observation of the Moscow underground demonstrated the clear superiority of soviet life to that under the Tsars: you could only accept that if you also accept that the losses of millions in the process were trivial losses.

  155. Arky

    So I wouldn’t be listening to “libertarians” on this issue.

    ..
    Or indeed, anything.

  156. Roger

    Major human catastrophes do have consequences. China will probably recover quickly from this one, and so will we, for modern societies have much more capacity to respond and bounce back. But China may never be quite the same again. Let’s see.

    And there may be more “black swans” to come, in which case globalisation will have to be be walked back of necessity and we’ll be in quite a different world.

  157. Arky

    So I wouldn’t be listening to “libertarians” on this issue.

    ..
    Or indeed, anything.

    ..
    Well, maybe beagle grooming. Or how to dry your own turds for smoking. Or how to prepare a granny for the table.

  158. Major human catastrophes do have consequences.

    Not sure where you’re going with that line of thinking Lizzie, but if the main consequence of COVID-19 is that all the boomers die 15 years before time…

  159. Arky

    that all the boomers die 15 years before time…

    ..
    People over 75 aren’t boomers you ignorant tool.

  160. Tim Neilson

    Also his administration has been trying to destroy Obamacare for years, and is still doing so with the case going to SCOTUS next year. Typical that he wants to rely on it when the chips are down, and take credit for its efficacy.

    Obamacare has nothing to do with the medical system, so has nothing to do with COVID 19 prevention. Obamacare didn’t add one doctor, one nurse or one hospital bed to the healthcare capacity of the USA. It just added 16,000 IRS agents to snoop on people’s financial circumstances and impose penalties on them for prioritising food and clothing over compulsory insurance against sudden onset transgenderism.

  161. Arky

    Supermarket sales up 35% today from last Tuesday, all categories.
    Hoarding specific categories even more.

  162. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    1 – evidence for the aftermath of the Black Death is less consistent and extensive than we’d like, but, while it is thought to have changed consumption patterns (toward more luxury goods), it is questionable whether it resulted in a net increase in affluence: while inheritances may have funded some increased consumption, production also fell. It was a bad time to be a landlord.
    2 – more importantly, you’re falling for a form of the broken windows fallacy. Even had incomes ‘rebounded’ and grown after the losses of the Black Death, that would not show that it was a ‘good thing’ – you need to compare it with how things would have gone had the BD not occurred. Which might have been gradual, incremental growth. (Or a Malthusian tragedy (cf 16th and 19th century Ireland)). It’s a variation on the old ‘progressive’ line that observation of the Moscow underground demonstrated the clear superiority of soviet life to that under the Tsars: you could only accept that if you also accept that the losses of millions in the process were trivial losses.

    Historians argue a lot about the changes wrought by the Black Death of the fourteenth century and it is rather like debating the reasons for the fall of Rome. There is no one ‘right’ answer. Depends what you are looking at and why and over what time frame. Economic historians can and do have a whale of a time with it. It does seem to have caused a rise in living standards for many, in the shake out, which obviously took some time.

    Pyrmonter, I am not ‘falling for’ anything. It seems to me you are getting way too far into ‘what if’ history if you argue re things that didn’t happen. I suppose economist libertarians feel free to make their judgements in that way, but I don’t. And I am not saying the Black Death was a ‘good thing’; I simply recognise that it is hard to do history by moral or economic balancing of what happened and what might have happened if only etc. Re the Black Death I am saying it happened and that it had particular effects. Bad perhaps if you were a landlord and good if you were a peasant looking to gain a better piece of land holding or to sell your labour instead of it being owed to another by birth. There were clear changes in the stratification system and a loosening of the older manorial bonds as labour became far more expensive overnight, which it did.

    Think sociologically rather than purely economically too, as I have suggested re the Spanish Flu and the Roaring Twenties and for other catastrophes in history too. With the Black Death traditional religion had for many been found wanting and so had some of the absconding clergy. Impelled by many forces, the early modern era was soon to begin. People like Shakespeare would start musing on the meaning of it all as Francis Drake pillaged Spanish Galleons from the New World and the Renaissance would be bringing its new perspectives to add to existing careful thinkers such as Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas.

    As for this current ‘event’ and its effect on China – I am just about to read the second update of Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, which focused much attention on China and a ‘profoundly interconnected world’. Maybe some deconnection may result from what is happening now. Or maybe not. Let’s see, as I said.

  163. Pyrmonter

    @ Lizzie

    The evidence for England and north western continental Europe is among the most abundant. That unfortunately blinds us to what happened elsewhere: in eastern Europe, serfdom was reinforced and urbanization retarded.

  164. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Arky, Hairy (my hubby for them as don’t know) came in yesterday and said he went to Woollies to buy some Panadol for his headache and the shelves were empty. I’ve just returned from the school run melee in Rose Bay and the Chemist Warehouse there was chock full of Panadol, heaps of it in big displays. Threw a pack at Hairy when I returned and he was then confirmed in his belief that gangs of Panadol scalpers were active in some areas only. My view is that no-one’s scalping them, same as for toilet paper, it is just people doing their ‘must do’ list for a fortnight in isolation and Panadol was on that list as the recommended miracle drug of choice for preparedness. I am rather of the view too that you don’t take antipyretics at first for flu symptoms as that is just nature doing good work hotting you up to destroy or at least discourage the bugs. Take ’em when you are fed up with nature though. 🙂

  165. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    That unfortunately blinds us to what happened elsewhere: in eastern Europe, serfdom was reinforced and urbanization retarded.

    Yes, good point, Pyrmonter. I don’t know if anything else was going on there to explain that during that period. Climatic changes are sometimes and important variable, and that’s just one thing, off the top of my head – they were certainly important re the fall of Rome, with the Huns and other ‘hordes’ riding down from the Steppes when horse fodder was scarce and driving others further west into Europe. Haven’t read much at all re Russia and the east in that period. Nor on India during periods of great famine and/or plague, or China. Such a lot to look into if time was not so short.

  166. Arky

    you don’t take antipyretics at first for flu symptoms as that is just nature doing good work hotting you up to destroy or at least discourage the bugs.

    ..
    That seems to be the medical opinion, up to 41 degrees or so.
    Leaves you with aspirin for pain.

  167. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    People over 75 aren’t boomers you ignorant tool.

    Yes. I am a proud ‘War Baby’. We were born into a world where bombs fell. In Britain, anyway. My pregnant mother got strafed by German fighter planes in a train as it drew into Coventry. I was born in 1942 and one of my earliest memories is of being freaked by a gas mask. I have a photograph of me as a little one in a working class street party celebrating VE Day. I have another photograph of me in 1976 with Friedrich Hayek after a seminar where we engaged with each other (Rafe has seen it). Two visual records of my personal collision with history. lol

    Now I’ll be in trouble for ‘me-ism’ again from the Usual Suspects.

  168. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Aspirin is also an antipyretic, Arky, so you will bring down your temp with it, just as you will with anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, a concentrated aspirin variant. It is also claimed in some recent research (someone put up a reference to it on Catallaxy recently), that as the drug of choice for the Spanish Flu, it may perhaps have had a deleterious effect. It may have contributed to the ‘wet’ blooded lungs found in many deceased young men. Aspirin is now known to cause internal tissue bleeding. So maybe its use was an iatrogenic contributor to the death rate? Or maybe not, as this virus seems to have shredded lungs quite well without aspirin as well. Just as nCoV19 collapses the alveoli of the lungs during a severe infection.

  169. The Beer Whisperer

    Better a billion people die than one diseased man be stopped crossing the border.

    – Libertarians 2020.

    How is that libertarian, Infy? Liberty is a two-sided coin, freedom to, and freedom from.

    Yes, many libertarians are idiots for not understanding the nature of the thing they praise, but it is not a fault in the concept of liberty itself.

  170. Iampeter

    Apparently even with something like ebola the initial symptoms are so minor that travel restrictions wouldn’t work and just misallocate scarce resources making the virus problem worse.

    What dangerous nonsense.

    Well, if you can’t detect infected people in most cases until it’s too late then how are you going to successfully implement travel restrictions?

    We are in a constant struggle against the disastrous ideas of the libertarians and globalists.

    You sure are. But you don’t seem to realize that means you are not right wing…

  171. Iampeter

    Better a billion people die than one diseased man be stopped crossing the border.

    – Libertarians 2020.

    How is that libertarian, Infy? Liberty is a two-sided coin, freedom to, and freedom from.

    Yes, many libertarians are idiots for not understanding the nature of the thing they praise, but it is not a fault in the concept of liberty itself.

    These are just the arguments of leftists.
    Both conservatives and progressives want to destroy our advanced civilization to save us.

  172. Pyrmonter

    A question for the Doomlord and Iamp:

    – if imposing a mandatory 14 day quarantine on travelers could be guaranteed to eliminate all other Coronavirus costs, given high levels of uncertainty about treatment costs etc, would it be worth doing?

    The mirror for the nationalists:

    – if you knew quarantine was bound to be a costly failure – because it was bound to leak, with ultimately the same course and speed of propogation of the virus as would occur without quarantine (so, in other words, the costs are the same, but incurred maybe 10 days or so later) would you still persist with the gesture of quarantine? If so, why?

  173. JC

    Implodes

    You’re kind of right, selective quarantine doesn’t eliminate the risk and in reality neither does a travel ban. What both can possibly do, but particularly the travel ban, is perhaps slow down contagion by spreading it over a longer period and thereby given public health some breathing space (intended pun) to get their act together. To stop it getting in? Nope.

    You should be in your dormitory at this hour as it’s not healthy for you to be on the computer so late. Please hand in your equipment to the orderly.

  174. Roger

    if you knew quarantine was bound to be a costly failure – because it was bound to leak, with ultimately the same course and speed of propogation of the virus

    You’re loading the question. That’s an informal fallacy.

  175. Arky

    – if imposing a mandatory 14 day quarantine on travelers could be guaranteed to eliminate all other Coronavirus costs, given high levels of uncertainty about treatment costs etc, would it be worth doing?

    The mirror for the nationalists:

    – if you knew quarantine was bound to be a costly failure – because it was bound to leak, with ultimately the same course and speed of propogation of the virus as would occur without quarantine (so, in other words, the costs are the same, but incurred maybe 10 days or so later) would you still persist with the gesture of quarantine? If so, why?

    ..
    Neither case works.
    What you are aiming for is this: To reduce R0 sufficiently to reduce the peak of the infection wave.
    The main killer isn’t the virus, but the overwhelming of hospitals.
    You reduce the severity of the outbreak by taking drastic initial action. Close schools, theatres and limit travel and public transport.
    As well as education about washing hands, distancing etc.
    Most of all you reduce panic by giving the public good information EARLY.
    So they don’t find themselves in a rapidly escalating situation after being told for weeks there was nothing to worry about.
    Panic kills. But people panic most when they are bullshitted and lied to then find themselves in the middle of a pandemic they were assured wasn’t bloody happening.

  176. Tel

    I’m intrigued. Why is it OK to destroy economic activity (remember that the lost potential output of labour is lost forever) to contain an infectious disease of uncertain aetiology, but a guaranteed catastrophe to take efficient steps to limit CO2 output?

    You haven’t been clear about the definition of “efficient steps” but I would have to presume you are going with the commonly accepted definition that is applying dynamite to all the coal fired power stations in Australia. That seems to be what most of the AGW crowd are doing these days.

    Well get back to me about the equivalence when those people worried about disease start dynamiting the airports, m’kay?

  177. Ed Case

    The virus has peaked in Hubei the center of the outbreak and is on the way out.
    Population density of Hubei province with 59 million people is 308 per Sq Kl.
    Pop density of victoria is 29 per sq. kl.
    Pop density of NSW is 8.64 per Sq Kl.
    Possible slight overreaction from those calling for immediate shutdown of Australia because think of the oldies?

  178. Panic kills. But people panic most when they are bullshitted and lied to then find themselves in the middle of a pandemic they were assured wasn’t bloody happening.

    Absolutely.

    But the plucky response of this US town in the midst of the Spanish Flu is food for thought:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/gunnison-colorado-the-town-that-dodged-the-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic

  179. Just as nCoV19 collapses the alveoli of the lungs during a severe infection.

    I suspected as much, Lizzie. I have very mild bronchiectasis (from a case of severe bronchitis years ago) &, being a “senior”, am certainly in that most threatened section of the population.

    My husband and I divide our time between our property in the Central Tablelands and our family home in Sydney. But I am seriously considering whether to make only rare visits to the city in the foreseeable future. We have noticed an increase in “grey nomads” in their vans and trailers heading west – and we know why!

  180. Fisky

    Well, if you can’t detect infected people in most cases until it’s too late then how are you going to successfully implement travel restrictions?

    But the reality is both Singapore and Taiwan have successfully imposed travel restrictions, leading to a dramatically lower caseload than their neighbours.

    So rather than face this reality, libertarians deny reality. Sad!

  181. Fisky

    The main killer isn’t the virus, but the overwhelming of hospitals

    Without travel bans, countries like Taiwan would be spending a LOT more on public health now. And they’d be much longer returning back to work and therefore producing those sacred units of GDP.

  182. mh

    But the reality is both Singapore and Taiwan have successfully imposed travel restrictions, leading to a dramatically lower caseload than their neighbours.

    So rather than face this reality, libertarians deny reality. Sad!

    But Fisky, libertarians are saving western civilisation. Cut them some slack.

  183. Tel

    But the reality is both Singapore and Taiwan have successfully imposed travel restrictions, leading to a dramatically lower caseload than their neighbours.

    So has China by a different method … and it would have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling kids.

    I mean, if they got their shit together a month earlier and locked down Wuhan at the same time they put the local military base on alert … which is probably when they first actually knew about what was going on … then they could have got it under control by now.

    You can imagine what all of China would look like if they had left their wonderful high speed rail going flat chat through all of this.

    It’s an interesting question, would a pure free market economy have as much transport as we have today? I suggest probably no … most of the best roads and rail were built using tax money for military purposes. Since peaceful people don’t need as much military, they would probably have built less transport infrastructure and be content with a more decentralized lifestyle, hanging around mostly with people who are familiar to themselves. Most of the people who commute to work actually hate traveling but do it because all the jobs are in the city. The business with the office in the city does it because of government zoning restrictions that don’t allow the office to be built anywhere else.

  184. Iampeter

    – if imposing a mandatory 14 day quarantine on travelers could be guaranteed to eliminate all other Coronavirus costs, given high levels of uncertainty about treatment costs etc, would it be worth doing?

    Yea but that’s a question which drops the context. It’s like if I was to ask you, don’t you want to spend a little bit more on electricity if it would save the environment? Where do you think these questions are leading?
    There’s no way getting around the need to have a proper understanding of political theory and then applying it in any situation.
    To those of us who are right wing, the function of government is to protect rights and a virus that spreads quickly but has a long incubation period is not going to be stopped by travel restrictions. Imposing them anyway will just cripple economies and make it even harder to deal with it.
    Just like a supposed natural disaster caused by human industry would be better dealt with by an industrial society than shutting down human industry and crippling humans anyway.

    You’ve already hit the nail on the head with your post #3341538.

    But the reality is both Singapore and Taiwan have successfully imposed travel restrictions, leading to a dramatically lower caseload than their neighbours.

    But the reality is that when the pacific islands had runways there was a mass influx of modern goods, so if they rebuild the runways again…oh…wait…never mind…

  185. Iampeter

    It’s an interesting question, would a pure free market economy have as much transport as we have today? I suggest probably no … most of the best roads and rail were built using tax money for military purposes. Since peaceful people don’t need as much military, they would probably have built less transport infrastructure and be content with a more decentralized lifestyle, hanging around mostly with people who are familiar to themselves.

    Oh gawd.
    Yea a capitalist, industrial society would be just like every primitive pre-capitalist, pre-industrial society. Totally.
    But obvious jokes aside, you give a good hint of where you and many like you really want society to go.

    On a slightly different note, I think the overall the position of conservatives in this thread can best be summed up as opposing the imposition of socialism for bogus environmental reasons, but total support for it if there’s a virus outbreak.

    Meanwhile those of us who are actually right wing just oppose socialism for any reason. Period.

  186. The Beer Whisperer

    These are just the arguments of leftists.
    Both conservatives and progressives want to destroy our advanced civilization to save us.

    Regardless of the accuracy or otherwise of your claim, there is nothing libertarian about exposing people to a deadly virus. This is the kind of shit we see from the Guardian, woeing and betiding those in forced quarantine. It espouses the liberty of the quarantined over those not quarantined. Then again, rules for some and different rules for others is precisely what the left is about.

  187. Iampeter

    I’m not against quarantine, Beer Whisperer.
    It probably would’ve been the best way to handle it early on.
    I’m against nationalists, like all good leftists, exploiting this crisis to advance a rights violating agenda.

    So my claim, the accuracy of which you aren’t sure about, is exactly what’s at issue.

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